- Post 27 January 2010
- Last Updated on 27 January 2010
- By Donald Chalmers
5th Parliament Discussion Extension: Phobic Views are Counter-Productive to Sustainable Futures !
As reported to you in my last article, the recently held 5th Parliament of the World’s Religions was open to a whole host of new ideas, including environmental and indigenous concerns about ways in which we might restore the environment to health – enough to sustain the existing, or more likely, reduced human population into the future.
Of the approximately 663 sessions, a substantial number of the sessions were devoted to these issues, and as to how we might proceed peacefully towards a sustainable future, as multi-faith people in a multi-religious, and multi-ethnic world. I counted about 30 in the 1st two pages of the 10 page “Program Index”, so we may presume a total of somewhere in the vicinity of 120 out of 663, or 1 in every 6. This emphasis is supported by the fact that “major subthemes” for the justice of a sustainable future for all peoples, are listed in pages 72 – 86 of the Parliaments program book, which documents the co-operative nature of progressive religions today, as they concentrate on living well and peaceably with each other the world over.
In looking through some brochures obtained from the 94 “Exhibiting Organizations”, the list of which is shown on page 58 of the Parliaments book, I noted that the “Potent Greenhouse Gas Emissions” section of the “SOS” pamphlet from stand 94 concludes that “Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems”. The pamphlet champions “Vegetarianism” as a way towards sustainable living. No mention is made of human population control.
Since “livestock” are a part of the natural environment, whether or not eaten for meat, surely our own population control/limitation should be raised as an urgent matter, as well ? For the sake of our children, this control should surely be brought about by peaceful means, rather than further pollution of the earth by hatred and division. Most probably this issue has already been raised at the Parliament, but I decided “then and there” that this would be the topic of my next Nigerian Village Square article:
My intuition (insight) gained from my labour of love, “picture-puzzle” artwork completed in 2002 and called thereafter “Peace and Harmony” (because I realized that it has most, if not all of the ingredients required for us to attain that blessed state) is that “all of us are both male and female inside.” And if this is the case, the “outside” is merely the wrapping which hides the complexity “inside”; for we are all “uniquely” created. If this is so, male = female, just as black is white, and the end is a new beginning....
And we must honour the inside, as well as the outside of each person. Therefore, we must allow each “person” to live, as “they” perceive themselves to “be”. We must allow others to express and to reach their full potential. Each one of “us” is a uniquely created “being” with our own talents and attributes. When society allows “all people” to develop to “loving and ripe maturity”, no one is disadvantaged, and the “whole community” benefits.
This current scientific understanding of what we now “know and feel” to be right “intuitively” certainly takes the (unloving) sting out of outmoded and backward thinking judgmental attitudes by many “religious” institutions. If it is true that the number of intersex and homosexual populations worldwide are increasing, this surely should be seen as a blessing, since many of these cannot or are not inclined to replicate themselves.
Homophobic views are therefore counterproductive with regard to population control/limitation. And still we might profitably encourage non-reproduction by peaceful means (war/famine/natural disasters as a decimator of populations is a non-loving – and impossible to predict the outcome – means).
Where all individuals are respected, all of us are free to make our own informed decisions as to how we should lovingly live. Given the education and medicine we have today, the means to reduce the total world population peaceably by voluntary contraception, sterilization, abstinence etc are easily managed. Even while we advance our technologies to allow those who cannot naturally reproduce, to parent children. This would be a win/win situation, worldwide.
I presume it was for this reason that I myself was co-opted to speak as a “panelist” at the Parliament (as a campaigner for equal rights within religion). I have recently published articles in the public area of Nigerian Village Square which complement my blogposts as “a piper too”.
Nigeria and Uganda are currently debating, enacting or have enacted draconian homophobic laws, supported by Nigeria’s Anglican Archbishop Peter Akinola (who is currently orchestrating a schism in the Anglican Communion on these matters – supported by Australia’s Peter Jensen of Sydney) and other “religious” “leaders”, and I challenge their leadership and motives in these matters.
My recent articles are entitled “Ugandan anti-gay proposed legislation” and “5th Parliament of the World’s Religions: Good News !” and may be viewed at http://www.nigeriavillagesquare.com/articles/guest-articles/ugandan-anti-gay-discriminatory-legislation.html and http://www.nigeriavillagesquare.com/articles/guest-articles/5th-parliament-of-the-worlds-religions-good-news.html respectively. My “labour of love” for Love “Peace and Harmony” picture-puzzle artwork, which pictorially presents the understanding upon which my current written work is built, may be viewed at www.wound-wisdom.tk .
As you may be aware, I was born in Australia to Anglo-Celtic parents, and have joined Nigerian Village Square as a “One World” citizen. Older Australians assuredly know that when rabbits were first introduced into Australia, their numbers “exploded” and they wreaked great havoc on the landscape, denuding and digging up large areas – a veritable catastrophe for the land and its natural productivity. When guns, traps, and poisons etc failed miserably to control the rabbit population (and frequently destroyed native species in large numbers), “extraordinary” means were used to save the land, and a new pox-like virus Myxomatosis was introduced to Australia in 1950.
At first, the results were spectacular and killed perhaps as much as 99% of the population in some areas. However, resistance to this blood-borne virus by fleas and mosquitoes eventually saw the re-emergence of the rabbit as a feral pest, so that new measures continue to be trialed with limited success. Much care must be taken so that other (especially native) species (and humans) are not inadvertently decimated by this blunt instrument. Natural rather than contrived solutions are the preferred option, so that environmental disasters – such as the extinction of native species – are avoided.
Like the children’s story of “The Old Woman who Swallowed the Fly”, we have made many a mistake, such as the introduction of the “cane toad” from Venezuela to rid our cane-fields of the cane beetle, to no avail. Instead, the cane toad soon become a feral pest in expanding areas throughout much of Australia. Rather than using bigger and bigger animals to eat the toad (it is poisonous anyway) scientists are working hard on genetic means to render them “infertile” and/or capable only of reproducing male offspring.
Something must be done, and quickly. To be useful, the gene or at least regions of the gene targeted must be cane toad specific. Otherwise, such infertility could be transmitted to Australian frogs also – a disaster in the making. Parallel research is under way to discover viruses of cane toads that are species–specific and which can infect other cane toads, and which may interfere with their life-cycle and reproductivity.
Research into these areas have been of enormous help in our understanding of human reproduction. Variation of intrauterine hormones etc affect the sexual development of human babies, and ultimately determine what their sexual preference will be, as they mature into adults. Though they could have developed either way, most are male, or female, and are heterosexually inclined.
Approximately 5-10% are born “homosexually inclined”, whether or not their exterior genitals are male or female. From external evidence, we know that a much smaller number are born “of indeterminate sex”, and some display the sex of both. Is it any wonder then, that there are some with the outer presentation of maleness, who have the inner workings of a female, and vice versa ? This explains “effeminate” men, and “masculine” women, and why some men have sex with men etc. They have been born that way, just as it occurs in nature. Repressive acts of “blame and shame” merely drive these people “underground”, and this harms society by closing it to honesty and openness.
The “parallel” we may draw from the human HIV/AIDS pandemic surely cannot be underestimated. Something must be done. But to scapegoat, humiliate and kill/ cast out/ criminalize a particular segment of the community (the inter-sex and homo-sex “gay” community, which has always been there) is not the way to go, if we would like a fearless, open and honest, harmonious community.
A healthy environment is aided by a healthy and educated people, who recognize the implications of overpopulation. Such people look for loving solutions to all problems, rather than the use of threats and violence. For such an enlightened people, the earth itself will be given due reverence, and our living will become sustainable, as we co-exist with it and nature.
January 26th is celebrated by most Australians as “Australia Day”, when Captain Arthur Phillip with his “First Fleet” of captive convicts relocated after week from Botany Bay north to “Port Jackson” (the current site of Sydney) on 26 January 1788. Though a range of other nations had made trading and exploratory contact before this (54 ships including Cook’s “Endeavour” between 1606 and 1770 as far as we know), Captain James Cook had first arrived on Australia’s Eastern coast on 22 August 1770 and claimed the land for “King George 3” of England. But for our indigenous Australian brothers and sisters, this day is just an unfortunate anniversary of what they call “Invasion Day”.
But none of us can turn back the clock of time, even if we wanted to (and the overwhelming majority do not !). We have no alternative but to move forward. More than 16,000 new arrivals took their “citizenship” oaths on this “day of reflection” (to respect the country and all of its inhabitants) yesterday, even as Australians are debating the limits of the population of this dry and arid continent. Like all others the world over, we must adapt to “sensible and sustainable limits”, or “suffer the consequences”.
Australia has been in the midst of a severe and prolonged drought for many years, and many a gloomy forecast has been made that we are headed for even dryer conditions into the future (even though we have also experienced recent floods).
I’ve just watched a TV program “Why Ancient Egypt Fell”. In 2100 BC the “Old Kingdom”, the pyramid building kingdom of Egypt, was at the height of its powers. Then suddenly in just a few years, the civilization collapsed.
Archaeologists and marine scientists explained that this occurred because of a sudden shift in the currents of the North Atlantic Ocean (possibly caused by underground explosions and earthquake activity ?) which changed ocean temperatures and the directions of the winds, with resultant change of rainfall in northern Africa, and the desertification of huge tracts of land which was formerly fertile. Whole populations were decimated, and/or had to migrate to escape the stinging wind-blown sand.
Obviously, the Pharaohs, who had been worshipped as “God’s” by claiming to hold the keys to the weather etc, lost a lot of face, and the period of pyramid building collapsed. Whole communities were forced to shift, and to adapt to new ways just to survive. But from the lessons learned from the horrors of adversity, the survivors created newer and greater civilizations in the remnant fertile places. They created dams and canals, and ways in which to store the precious water, and relocated their cities as the course of the Nile changed of its’ own volition, time and time again, in the delta.
Never before has the human population been so great. Current populations are increasing at an evermore rapid pace. This recent plague-like increase has been brought about by new scientific discoveries “put to good use” – as they have been from the beginning of time. Death rates have been lowered by medicine and modern midwifery techniques etc. There is no doubting that “mankind” learns something new in every new era, but nothing is set in concrete. All things must pass away to begin again.
Never before in the “his and her story” of humankind, have we needed more to concentrate on non-violent population control/reduction, so that younger generations might thrive (live peaceably together) into the future.
The rape of planet Earth through overpopulation is as wrong as is the act of imposing one’s “will” on another. Hate-fueled !
It would seem most sensible to me, that “un-loving” and suspect sexual “prohibitions” (which were previously aimed at increasing sparse populations), should now be reversed to ease our population pressure on our home – planet earth. It is either that, or to prohibit any or all sexual practices which lead to impregnation and infants galore. It does not seem sensible to me that intersex and homosexually oriented people should be humiliated, vilified, criminalized, and prosecuted for “doing what comes naturally for them” as they seek and fulfill their living, while loving, and contributing.
And in the meantime, society benefits from the expertise “differently-abled” people can bring to whole communities, where all people are respected and rewarded for the gifts they bring to the group. Great art, science and literature stem from such as these, unencumbered as they usually are by the responsibility of the nurture of children, except within their extended, loving families.
Polygamous marriages should (once again) become a thing of the past, once it is recognized that they have a negative impact on sustainable populations.
And what can persons like Nigeria’s Archbishop Peter Akinola and his “religious” ilk say about this ? I suspect – nothing – except “Amen” ! Though they have “their” little empires to protect, they have said nothing thus far. For they, our leaders are like unto our own individual “selves”. None of us have fixed answers, but we do have the universal ability to Love, and this is what we are called to do, as we share our combined resources.
Jesus confirmed this when he responded to “Love your neighbor as yourself” – which is the “Golden Rule” (Do to others as you would have them do unto you; Do not do to others that which you would hate for yourself) and extended by Muhammad in his last sermon to “Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you” – by saying: “Do this, and you will live !”
Anything less than love is not holy. By accepting that "all people are created equal members of the same human family", and allowing same-sex attracted and same-sex loving couples the same rights as everyone else, we "give love a chance". This, I believe is the crux, the very “heart” of the matter. Hate melts in the arms of Love.
When this day arrives, as arrive it will, respect for natural eco-systems will be the “order of the day”, and greed and bullying and over-consumption will be seen for what they are: non-loving, and self-defeating. Our common hope and dream (to love, and to be loved in return) should then become our common reality, and we shall at last attain that blessed state we call “Peace and Harmony”. Heaven on Earth. Amen !